Monday, August 5, 2013

Daily 5 Organization: How I Manage Small Group Materials

My favorite thing about the Daily 5 is that it can be adapted a million different ways to fit EVERY classroom.

Becca at First Grade in Foxwell Forest is hosting a new linky party specifically for us to share how Daily 5 works in our classroom. If you use Daily 5 (or plan to!), make sure you go link up on the 5th of each month!

Last week, I posted about  how I structure my 90 minute reading block with the Daily 5 and how I keep students accountable during Daily 5 rounds.


I have to admit… I was initially underwhelmed when I read the Daily 5 book, but I still felt that the overall structure was well worth trying in my room. I’ve used it and pieces of CAFÉ/ Reading Workshop/ our basal series/ guided reading/ my own lessons, so my reading block is something of a hodge podge- but I LOVED how it worked for my class last year!


Reading Rounds are fantastic to manage my small group time, but it’s still precious time and I have to keep everything organized. As you can see in the plan section above, I simply write which group I’m working with in the “round” space of my lesson plans, but I keep more detailed plans in my guided reading binder.

I keep a CAFÉ or CRAFT menu in the front of my reading binder to reference specific strategies and then I include my small group plans. My groups are almost always taught as guided reading groups, but occasionally strategy groups like in CAFÉ (or some combination). Last year, I didn’t have a great way to do this- so I came up with a planning page that I think will work really well!

Blog- Reading Round Planner Preview 1

I fill in the date, book title (usually with GR level in parentheses), and focus of that group. Instead of student names, I usually put numbers for speed, but I like to put a little space between each one so I can mark if anyone were absent that day.

I always teach a specific mini-lesson to each group and leave myself space to write observations or teaching notes. After each group, I make a quick note of what to work on next time, and we’re done!

Blog- Reading Round Planner Preview 2

I realized this year that my students weren’t always sure of their goal because I didn’t always tell them clearly or give them anywhere to document it! This year I plan on having my kids make another section in their reading notebooks for their individual goals that we make during our weekly conferences.

I also made a more cohesive planning page for my conferences, because index cards were just not structured enough (as much as I love them!)

blog- Reading Round Planner Preview 3

This sheet is meant to be used with an individual student, so that  I can easily see progress over time and look at the last lesson when planning for the next week.

As far as my other materials, I keep it simple- a big rubber band around the book set (other than the ones the students have in their book boxes, of course), and a Post-It on the front reminding me who’s in that group. I like to call students over by their book title.


(Yes, this is a graphic novel about a Magic Pickle. It is as hilarious as it sounds and there’s a whole series. My kids LOVED them!)

I keep my stacks of books in a basket from the Classroom Library Company, but they also gave me a plastic tray that fits bigger picture books.


I was really blessed in my last school to have an amazing leveled book library where each book had been labeled with its Guided Reading level on the back.  We used clothespins with our names on them to check out book sets from the leveled library and know where to return them. I doubt I’ll be that blessed again, but it made things SO easy and I think with these planning pages, I’d be set to be super organized this year!

Would you like to try out my Reading Round Planning Sheets? They include both CAFÉ and CRAFT style versions of the small group planning page and the conference/ assessment planning page.

Blog- Reading Round Planner Preview 4

You can grab a copy for free at my Facebook page! This freebie will be up for all of August,  so you don’t need to hurry… but you will need to be on a computer, not a mobile device, and you will need to like my Facebook page to access it.

Please don’t forget to let me know what you think and say thank you!  : ) 

I would also LOVE to read about Daily 5 in your classroom, so link up with Becca!


  1. Thanks for posting this. Coming from Grade 7 and 8 guided reading and implementing the Daily 5 have been one of my biggest goals but I am still struggling with how to organize it all. Your post was very helpful.
    Thinking of Teaching

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I've always kept track of my small group lessons + student meetings in a notebook, but I like your form so much better! Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I always love peeking into other people's classrooms and seeing how they organize everything :)

  4. thanks for sharing this...I'm new to first grade this year and new the Daily 5 so trying it all and seeing what works for me...feeling overwhelmed and excited at the same time...


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!